Hills and Twos is a staple early season session for a number of top high school, collegiate, and professional programs that combines a set of short, hard hill repeats with a set of short, fast intervals. I’ve been doing some version of this workout since college, the Bowerman Track Club has their own take on it, and a couple of Georgetown runners even named their podcast after it.
This workout is all about that base. It’s a relatively straightforward session that combines a set of short (30-60”) hill repeats with a moderate dose of steady state running (think marathon-ish effort). It’s perfect for athletes early in a training block when they’re building volume and reintroducing intensity without getting too specific just yet. It’s not meant to be that hard. There are a number of ways you can manipulate this workout but I like to start with the hill repeats because the athlete is fresh and we can get more out of this element of it in terms of muscle fiber recruitment, improving power, and running with good form. The steady state afterward is purely aerobic—not too hard, but not that easy—and shouldn’t take that much out of you energetically or otherwise.
Hill workouts should be an essential part of any runner’s training repertoire. They provide a lot of benefits for a relatively steep price: speed, strength, fitness, focus, challenge, and confidence all wrapped into a tidy package of uphill repeats.
I came up with this workout for my Wednesday night track crew as a fun way to get in a high volume of quality work while also practicing how to be disciplined, stay focused, and go through a wide range of gears. This session works best in a group environment because it has a competitive element to it—you’re “eliminated” when you run slower than your previous interval; whoever can tally up the most reps “wins” the workout—but it can also be done alone.
Running long this week/weekend? Those miles are going to be a sizable chunk of your total weekly volume. Don’t waste ’em! Avoid a sloppy slog and help the time pass a little quicker by throwing in a 30-60 second surge at the end of every mile. Here are the details:
The "Reverse Michigan" workout is an ascending ladder on the track—starting with a fast 400m, ending with a strong mile—interspersed with longer stretches of tempo running off the track between intervals. It's a great blend of speed and strength that can be beneficial to nearly any runner whether they're training for the mile, the marathon or anything in between.
Tempo runs tend to get the best of you? You’re not the only one. This classic workout tends to intimidate a lot of runners because of its stop-free nature, e.g. 3-8 miles at half-marathon pace is a popular prescription and anything but an easy assignment during a heavy training week. The Broken Tempo Run serves as a nice alternative, especially early in a training block when you’re just not that fit or if you tend to have a hard time wrapping your head around a long workout.